Battle of Kosovo

The Battle of Kosovo took place on 15 June 1389[A] between an army led by the Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović and an invading army of the Ottoman Empire under the command of Sultan Murad Hüdavendigâr. The army under Prince Lazar consisted of his own troops, a contingent led by Serbian nobleman Vuk Branković, and a contingent sent from Bosnia by King Tvrtko I, commanded by Vlatko Vuković.[7] Prince Lazar was the ruler of Moravian Serbia and the most powerful among the Serbian regional lords of the time, while Vuk Branković ruled District of Branković located in Kosovo and other areas, recognizing Lazar as his overlord. The battle was fought on the Kosovo field in the territory ruled by Branković, in what is today Kosovo.[a] Its site is about 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) northwest of the modern city of Pristina.

Reliable historical accounts of the battle are scarce. The bulk of both armies were wiped out in the battle, and both Lazar and Murad were killed. Although the Ottomans managed to annihilate the Serbian army, they also suffered huge casualties that delayed their progress. The Serbs were left with too few men to effectively defend their lands, while the Turks had many more troops in the east. Consequently, one after the other, the Serbian principalities that were not already Ottoman vassals became so in the following years.

Battle of Kosovo
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe and the Serbian-Ottoman Wars
Petar Lubarda Kosovski boj 1953 Svecana Sala Novi Dvor Beograd

Petar Lubarda's Kosovski Boj
DateJune 15,[A] 1389
Ottoman Empire Coat of arms of Moravian Serbia.svg Moravian Serbia
District of Branković
Coat of arms of Kingdom of Bosnia.svg Kingdom of Bosnia
Knights Hospitaller
Commanders and leaders
Sultan Murad I 
Bayezid I
Yakub Çelebi Executed
Coat of arms of Moravian Serbia.svg Prince Lazar 
Coat of arms of Branković family (small).svg Vuk Branković
Coat of arms of Kingdom of Bosnia.svg Vlatko Vuković
Cross of the Knights Hospitaller.svg John of Palisna
~ 27,000–40,000[B] ~ 12,000–30,000[B]
Casualties and losses
Sultan Murad I and most of the troops[1][2] Prince Lazar and most of the troops[1][2]


Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Dušan "the Mighty" (r. 1331–55) was succeeded by his son Stefan Uroš V "the Weak" (r. 1355–71), whose reign was characterized by the decline of central power and the rise of numerous virtually independent principalities; this period is known as the fall of the Serbian Empire. Uroš V was neither able to sustain the great empire created by his father nor repulse foreign threats and limit the independence of the nobility; he died childless on 4 December 1371, after much of the Serbian nobility had been destroyed by the Ottomans in the Battle of Maritsa earlier that year. Prince Lazar, ruler of the northern part of the former empire of (Moravian Serbia), was aware of the Ottoman threat and began diplomatic and military preparations for a campaign against them.

After the defeat of the Ottomans at Pločnik (1386) and Bileća (1388), Murad I, the reigning Ottoman sultan, moved his troops from Philippoupolis to Ihtiman (modern Bulgaria) in the spring of 1388. From there they traveled across Velbužd and Kratovo (modern R. Macedonia). Though longer than the alternative route through Sofia and the Nišava Valley, this led the Ottoman forces to Kosovo, one of the most important crossroads in the Balkans. From Kosovo they could attack the lands of either Prince Lazar or Vuk Branković. Having stayed in Kratovo for a time, Murad and his troops marched through Kumanovo, Preševo and Gnjilane to Priština, where he arrived on June 14.[8]

While there is less information about Lazar's preparations, he gathered his troops near Niš, on the right bank of the South Morava. His forces likely remained there until he learned that Murad had moved to Velbužd, whereupon he moved across Prokuplje to Kosovo. This was the best place he could choose as a battlefield, as it gave him control of all the routes that Murad could take.[8]

Reliable historical accounts of the battle are scarce; however, a critical comparison with historically contemporaneous battles (such as Ankara or Nikopolis) enables reliable reconstruction.[8]


Army composition

Murad's army numbered between 27,000 and 40,000 men.[B][8] These 40,000 included no more than 2,000 Janissaries,[9] 2,500 of Murad's cavalry guard, 6,000 sipahis, 20,000 azaps and akincis, and 8,000 troops from his vassals.[8] Marko and Dragaš, although Ottoman vassals, did not participate in the battle.[10] The Ottoman army was supported by the forces of the Anatolian Turkoman Beylik of Isfendiyar.[11]

Lazar's army numbered between 12,000 and 30,000.[B] According to a Yugoslav encyclopaedia (1972), there were approximately 30,000 fighters present; 12,000-15,000 were under Lazar's command, with 5,000-10,000 under Vuk Branković, a Serbian nobleman from Kosovo, and just as many under the nobleman Vlatko Vuković,[8] who had been sent by the Bosnian king Tvrtko I Kotromanić. Also present were Knights Hospitaller led by the Croatian knight John of Palisna.[12] Several thousand were knights.[13] Furthermore, there have been several anachronistic accounts that have mentioned the "Christian army" of Lazar was far greater, and that it also included contingents of other nations, although these cannot be verified.[C]

Troop deployment

Battle of Kosovo, disposition of troops
Troop disposition

The armies met at the Kosovo field. Murad headed the Ottoman army, with his sons Bayezid on his right and Yakub on his left. Around 1,000 archers were in the front line in the wings, backed up by azap and akinci; in the front center were janissaries, behind whom was Murad, surrounded by his cavalry guard; finally, the supply train at the rear was guarded by a small number of troops.[13] One of the Ottoman commanders was Pasha Yiğit Bey.[14]

The Serbian army had Prince Lazar at its center, Vuk on the right and Vlatko on the left. At the front of the army were the heavy cavalry and archer cavalry on the flanks, with the infantry to the rear. While parallel, the dispositions of the armies were not symmetrical, as the Serbian center had a broader front than the Ottoman center.[13]


Serbian and Turkish accounts of the battle differ, making it difficult to reconstruct the course of events. It is believed that the battle commenced with Ottoman archers shooting at Serbian cavalry, who then made ready for the attack. After positioning in a wedge formation,[15] the Serbian cavalry managed to break through the Ottoman left wing, but were not as successful against the center and the right wing.[13]

Battle of Kosovo, Adam Stefanović, 1870
Battle of Kosovo, by Adam Stefanović (1870).

The Serbs had the initial advantage after their first charge, which significantly damaged the Ottoman wing commanded by Yakub Çelebi.[16] When the knights' charge was finished, light Ottoman cavalry and light infantry counterattacked and the Serbian heavy armor became a disadvantage. In the center, Serbian troops managed to push back Ottoman forces, except for Bayezid's wing, which barely held off the forces commanded by Vlatko Vuković. Vuković thus inflicted disproportionately heavy losses on the Ottomans. The Ottomans, in a ferocious counterattack led by Bayezid, pushed the Serbian forces back and then prevailed later in the day, routing the Serbian infantry. Both flanks still held, with Vuković's drifting toward the center to compensate for the heavy losses inflicted on the Serbian infantry.

Historical facts say that Vuk Branković saw that there was no hope for victory and fled to save as many men as he could after Lazar was captured. In traditional songs, however, it is said that he betrayed Lazar and left him to die in the middle of battle, rather than after Lazar was captured and the center suffered heavy losses.

Sometime after Branković's retreat from the battle, the remaining Bosnian and Serb forces yielded the field, believing that a victory was no longer possible.

Miloš Obilić, by Aleksandar Dobrić, 1861
Miloš Obilić, the alleged assassin of Sultan Murad I.

As the battle turned against the Serbs, it is said that one of their knights, later identified as Miloš Obilić, pretended to have deserted to the Ottoman forces. When brought before Murad, Obilić pulled out a hidden dagger and killed the Sultan by slashing him, after which the Sultan's bodyguards immediately killed him.

The earliest preserved record, a letter from the Florentine senate to King Tvrtko I of Bosnia dated 20 October 1389, says that Murad was killed during the battle. The killer is not named, but it was one of 12 Serbian noblemen who managed to break through the Ottoman lines:

Fortunate, most fortunate are those hands of the twelve loyal lords who, having opened their way with the sword and having penetrated the enemy lines and the circle of chained camels, heroically reached the tent of Murat himself. Fortunate above all is that one who so forcefully killed such a strong vojvoda by stabbing him with a sword in the throat and belly. And blessed are all those who gave their lives and blood through the glorious manner of martyrdom as victims of the dead leader over his ugly corpse.[17]

Another Italian account, Mignanelli's work of 1416, asserted that it was Lazar who killed the Ottoman sultan.[18]


Both armies were annihilated in the battle;[7] both Lazar and Murad lost their lives, and the remnants of their armies eventually retreated from the battlefield. Murad's son Bayezid strangled his younger brother Yakub Çelebi upon hearing that their father had died, thus becoming the sole heir to the Ottoman throne.[19] The Serbs were left with too few men to defend their lands effectively, while the Turks had many more troops in the east.[7] Consequently, the Serbian principalities that were not already Ottoman vassals became so in the following years, yielding one by one.[7] Furthermore, in response to Ottoman pressure,[20] some Serbian noblemen wed their daughters, including the daughter of Prince Lazar, to Bayezid.[21][22] In the wake of these marriages, Stefan Lazarević became a loyal ally of Bayezid, going on to contribute significant forces to many of Bayezid's future military engagements, including the Battle of Nicopolis. Eventually the Serbian Despotate would, on numerous occasions, attempt to defeat the Ottomans in conjunction with the Hungarians until its final defeat in 1459.[23]

Turkish armor during battles of Marica and Kosovo
Turkish armor during battles of Marica and Kosovo.


The Battle of Kosovo is particularly important to Serbian history, tradition and national identity.[24]

The day of the battle, known in Serbian as Vidovdan (St. Vitus' day), is an important part of Serb ethnic and national identity,[25] with notable events in Serbian history falling on that day: in 1876 Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire (Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–78)); in 1881 Austria-Hungary and the Principality of Serbia signed a secret alliance; in 1914 the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was carried out by the Serbian Gavrilo Princip (although a coincidence that his visit fell on that day, Vidovdan added nationalist symbolism to the event[26]); in 1921 Serbian King Alexander I proclaimed the Vidovdan Constitution; in 1989, on the 600th anniversary of the battle, Serbian political leader Slobodan Milošević delivered the Gazimestan speech on the site of the historic battle, etc.

The Tomb of Sultan Murad, a site in Kosovo Polje where Murad I's internal organs were buried, has gained a religious significance for local Muslims. A monument was built by Murad I's son Bayezid I at the tomb, becoming the first example of Ottoman architecture in the Kosovo territory.

See also


  1. ^ Date: Some sources attempt to give the date as June 28 in the New-Style Gregorian calendar, but that was not adopted until 1582, and did not apply retrospectively (but see Proleptic Gregorian calendar). Moreover, the proleptic Gregorian date of the battle is June 23, not 28. Nevertheless, anniversaries of the battle are still celebrated on June 15 Julian (Vidovdan, that is St. Vitus' Day in the calendar of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which is still Julian), which corresponds to June 28 Gregorian in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  2. ^ a b c Strength: Estimate vary, although with the Ottomans having greater numbers;
    • According to Sedlar: "Nearly the entire Christian fighting force (between 12,000 and 20,000 men) had been present at Kosovo, while the Ottomans (with 27,000 to 30,000 on the battlefield) retained numerous reserves in Anatolia."[27]
    • According to J. K. Cox: "The Ottoman army probably numbered between 30,000 and 40,000. They faced something like 15,000 to 25,000 Eastern Orthodox soldiers."[6]
    • According to Cowley: "On June 28, 1389, an Ottoman army of between thirty thousand and forty thousand under the command of Sultan Murad I defeated an army of Balkan allies numbering twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand under the command of Prince Lazar of Serbia at Kosovo Polje (Field of Blackbirds) in the central Balkans."[28]
  3. ^ According to some Turkish sources, the "Christian army" led by Prince Lazar included contingents of Bulgarians, Albanians, Wallachians, Germans and Bohemians.[29] Claims about such a coalition of Christian rulers first appeared about eighty years after the battle in a book written by an Ottoman author, Oruç of Edirne, and were repeated by later Turkish historians.[30] Some of them added also Franks, Czechs, and Bulgarians to the aforementioned troops, claiming that there were 500,000 soldiers in the "Christian coalition". The reason for the Ottomans to represent the Battle of Kosovo in this way might lie in the fact that it was the only battle in which an Ottoman sultan was killed.[30] The alleged participation of Đurađ II Balšić, the lord of Zeta, in Lazar's army is improbable: he had previously become an Ottoman vassal; he was in hostility with Lazar's ally Tvrtko I; and at the time of the battle he was most likely in Ulcinj.[31] The participation of Teodor Muzaka and other Albanians is suggested by a family history of the Muzaka (Musachi) family,[31] written in Naples in c. 1515 by John Musachi, who stated the following: "Lazar, the Despot of Serbia, and King Marko of Bulgaria (Bulgaria's monarch in 1389 was Tsar Ivan Shishman, who had been under the Ottoman overlordship since 1373. King Marko is referred to also as the king of Serbia in John Musachi's chronicle.) and Theodore Musachi, (Theodore Musachi is the younger brother of John Musachi's father, Gjin. According to the chronicle, Theodore died in the Battle of Kosovo, about 125 years before his nephew wrote the chronicle.) and the other Lords of Albania united and set off for battle, which the Christians lost."[32] Robert Elsie, expert on Albanian studies, characterizes John Musachi's chronicle as "no work of great scholarship" whose historical accounts are confusing, although it is an important source for late 15th-century Albania.[32]

Status of Kosovo

  1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is recognized as an independent state by 103 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ a b c (Fine 1994, p. 410)

    Thus since the Turks also withdrew, one can conclude that the battle was a draw.

  2. ^ a b c (Emmert 1990, p. ?)

    Surprisingly enough, it is not even possible to know with certainty from the extant contemporary material whether one or the other side was victorious on the field. There is certainly little to indicate that it was a great Serbian defeat; and the earliest reports of the conflict suggest, on the contrary, that the Christian forces had won.

  3. ^ Daniel Waley; Peter Denley (2013). Later Medieval Europe: 1250-1520. Routledge. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-317-89018-8. The outcome of the battle itself was inconclusive.
  4. ^ Ian Oliver (2005). War and Peace in the Balkans: The Diplomacy of Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia. I.B.Tauris. p. vii. ISBN 978-1-85043-889-2. Losses on both sides were appalling and the outcome inconclusive although the Serbs never fully recovered.
  5. ^ John Binns (2002). An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches. Cambridge University Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-521-66738-8. The battle is remembered as a heroic defeat, but historical evidence suggests an inconclusive draw.
  6. ^ a b John K. Cox (2002). The History of Serbia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-313-31290-8. The Ottoman army probably numbered between 30,000 and 40,000. They faced something like 15,000 to 25,000 Eastern Orthodox soldiers. [...] Accounts from the period after the battle depict the engagement at Kosovo as anything from a draw to a Christian victory.
  7. ^ a b c d e (Fine 1994, pp. 409–411)
  8. ^ a b c d e f (Vojna Akademija 1972, p. 659)
  9. ^ Hans-Henning Kortüm (2006). Transcultural wars from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. Akademie. p. 231. ISBN 978-3-05-004131-5. But having been established under Murad I (1362-1389), essentially as a bodyguard, the Janissaries cannot have been present in large numbers at Nicopolis (there were no more than 2,000 at Kosovo in 1389)
  10. ^ Tanya Popovic (1988). Prince Marko: The Hero of South Slavic Epics. Syracuse University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8156-2444-8.
  11. ^ Karpat, Kemal H.; Zens, Robert W. (2003). Ottoman Borderlands: Issues, Personalities, and Political Changes. Center of Turkish Studies, University of Wisconsin. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-299-20024-4. Troops of his emirate seconded Murad I in the battle of Kosovo Polje (1389), as indicated in the "Book of Victory" (Fatih-name) issued by Bayezid the Thunderbolt.
  12. ^ Hunyadi and Laszlovszky 2001, p. 287
  13. ^ a b c d (Vojna Akademija 1972, p. 660)
  14. ^ Evliya Çelebi; Hazim Šabanović (1996). Putopisi: odlomci o jugoslovenskim zemljama. Sarajevo-Publishing. p. 280. Retrieved 26 July 2013. Paša Jigit- -beg, koji se prvi put pominje kao jedan između turskih komandanata u kosovskoj bici.
  15. ^ Slavomir Nastasijevic (1987). Vitezi Kneza Lazara. Narodna Knjiga Beograd. pp. 187–. ISBN 8633100150. Serbian heavy cavalry took V wedge shape charge position breaking through Ottoman infantry and light cavalry.
  16. ^ (Emmert 1991, p. ?)
  17. ^ Wayne S. Vucinich, Thomas A. Emmert (1991). Kosovo: Legacy of a Medieval Battle. University of Minnesota.
  18. ^ Sima M. Ćirković (1990). Kosovska bitka u istoriografiji: Redakcioni odbor Sima Ćirković (urednik izdanja) [... et al.]. Zmaj. p. 38. Retrieved 11 September 2013. Код Мињанелиjа, кнез је претходно заробл - ен и принуЬен да Мурату положи заклетву верности! и тада је један од њих, кажу да је то био Лазар, зарио Мурату мач у прса
  19. ^ Imber, Colin. The Ottoman Empire: The Structure of Power, 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, p. 85. ISBN 0-230-57451-3.
  20. ^ Vamik D. Volkan (1998). Bloodlines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism. Westview Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-8133-9038-3.
  21. ^ Donald Quataert (11 August 2005). The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922. Cambridge University Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-521-83910-5.
  22. ^ History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey By Stanford Jay Shaw, Ezel Kural Shaw, p. 24
  23. ^ Fine, John (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 575. ISBN 9780472082605.
  24. ^ Isabelle Dierauer (16 May 2013). Disequilibrium, Polarization, and Crisis Model: An International Relations Theory Explaining Conflict. University Press of America. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7618-6106-5.
  25. ^ Đorđević 1990.
  26. ^ Manfried Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg und das Ende der Habsburgermonarchie 1914–1918, 2013, p. 87
  27. ^ Sedlar, Jean W. East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500. University of Washington Press. p. 244. Nearly the entire Christian fighting force (between 12,000 and 20,000 men) had been present at Kosovo, while the Ottomans (with 27,000 to 30,000 on the battlefield) retained numerous reserves in Anatolia.
  28. ^ Cowley, Robert; Geoffrey Parker. The Reader's Companion to Military History. Houghton Mifflin Books. p. 249. On June 28, 1389, an Ottoman army of between thirty thousand and forty thousand under the command of Sultan Murad I defeated an army of Balkan allies numbering twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand under the command of Prince Lazar of Serbia at Kosovo Polje (Blackbird's Field) in the central Balkans.
  29. ^ Željko Fajfrić. "7. Bitka na Kosovu". Sveta loza kneza Lazara. [...] Nije knez mogao računati ni na Vlaškog vojvodu Mirčeta jer je ovaj ratovao protiv Ugara po Poljskoj, ali ni na svoga zeta Bugarskog cara Šišmana. Još su neosnovanije bile tvrdnje da su knezu pomagali Albanci. Stoga svi kasniji navodi, naročito Turski, gde se tvrdi da je knez Lazar uspeo da okupi oko sebe Bugare, Albance, Vlahe pa čak Nemce i Čehe, jesu najobičnija izmišljotina koja je imala za zadatak da kneževu snagu preuveličaju. [Lazar could not count on Wallachian voivode Mirčeta as he was in war with the Hungarians in Poland, nor on Bulgarian Emperor Šišman. Even more ungrounded is the claim that Albanians aided Lazar. All the later mentions, particularly the Turkish, where it is claimed that Lazar managed to gather the Bulgarians, Albanians, Wallachians, and even Germans and Czechs, are the commonest of fabrications which have the intention to exaggerate the size of Lazar's forces.]
  30. ^ a b Antić, Čedomir (25 November 2010). "Bitka za bitku" (in Serbian). Politika Online.
  31. ^ a b Malcolm, Noel (1998). Kosovo: A Short History. London: Macmillan. p. 62
  32. ^ a b Elsie, Robert (2003). "1515. John Musachi: Brief Chronicle on the Descendants of our Musachi Dynasty Archived 2010-09-10 at the Wayback Machine". Documents 16th to 18th centuries. Texts and Documents of Albanian History.


Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 42°37′48″N 21°7′12″E / 42.63000°N 21.12000°E

Battle of Kosovo (1448)

The Second Battle of Kosovo (Hungarian: második rigómezei csata, Turkish: İkinci Kosova Savaşı) (17–20 October 1448) was a land battle between a Hungarian-led Crusader army and the Ottoman Empire at Kosovo Polje. It was the culmination of a Hungarian offensive to avenge the defeat at Varna four years earlier.

In the three-day battle the Ottoman army under the command of Sultan Murad II defeated the Crusader army of regent John Hunyadi. Calculating that he would need more than 40,000 men to defeat the Ottomans, the Hungarian regent sought to join up with anti-Ottoman Albanian forces, possibly led by Skanderbeg. The Ottomans in their base at Sofia received word of the Crusader army's march route and subsequently began readying their men.

Having failed to locate the main Ottoman army, whom he believed to still be at their capital in Edirne, Hunyadi was caught by surprise on 17 October when the Ottoman army appeared in front of his men at Kosovo Field. He constructed a tabor wagon fort at Plementina hill from which to fight the Ottomans, who built their own stockade in response. Cavalry skirmishing on the flanks of the stockades during the first two days and a Crusader night-time attack using their wagons and guns against the Sultan's central position on the night of 18/19 October produced much bloodshed but no conclusive results.

On 19 October Murad II used his sipahi cavalry from Thessaly to envelop the cavalry on the Crusader left flank, along with a general assault all along the line to distract Hunyadi from the primary effort. The maneuver worked and the Wallachian, Moldavian and Hungarian cavalry were cut down by the sipahis, who took no prisoners. Much of the Crusader army then retreated. On 20 October, with Murad II personally observing the struggle, the Janissaries attacked and killed everyone left in the stockade.

The battle ended any hopes of saving Constantinople from the Ottoman Empire. The Hungarian kingdom no longer had the military and financial resources to mount an offensive against the Ottomans. With the end of the half-century-long Crusader threat to their European frontier, Murad's son Mehmed II was free to lay siege to Constantinople in 1453.

Battle of Kosovo (disambiguation)

Battle of Kosovo may refer to:

Battle of Kosovo (1369)

Battle of Kosovo (1389)

Battle of Tripolje (1402)

Battle of Kosovo (1448)

Battle of Kosovo (1831)

Battle of Kosovo (1915)

Kosovo Operation (1944)

Kosovo War (1999)

Battle of Kosovo (film)

Battle of Kosovo (film)

Battle of Kosovo (Serbo-Croatian: Бој на Косову/Boj na Kosovu) is a 1989 Yugoslav historical drama/war film filmed in Serbia. The film was based on the drama written by poet Ljubomir Simović. It depicts the historical Battle of Kosovo between Medieval Serbia and the Ottoman Empire which took place on 15 June 1389 (according to the Julian calendar, 28 June 1389 by the Gregorian calendar) in a field about 5 kilometers northwest of Pristina.

Serbian Duke Lazar in 1389 refuses to obey the Turk Sultan Murat who intends on invading Serbia with an army in order to conquer Europe. Although aware that he is weaker, without enough men, Duke Lazar decides to fight him anyway. The Serbian Lords are not united. Most of them want to fight, even at the cost of defeat, but some of them do not. Everyone fit for battle is sent to Kosovo. The battle of Kosovo in 1389 ended with no winners - with both armies defeated and both Lazar and Murat dead. The Turks would proceed to invade Serbia but were hindered from taking over the rest of Europe.

The film was released in 1989, which marked the 600th anniversary of the Battle.

Church of St. Nicholas, Kosovica

The Church of Saint Nicholas (Serbian Cyrillic: Црква Светог Николе) is a church of the Serbian Orthodox Church, located in the village of Kosovica near Ivanjica. The original church dates back to the Middle Ages. The present structure is believed to have been built in the 19th century upon the foundations of an old church. According to tradition, the original building was built after the Battle of Kosovo, in memory of the soldiers who passed through the area whilst withdrawing after their defeat in 1389.

Danilo III (patriarch)

Danilo III (Serbian Cyrillic: Данило III; also called Danilo the Younger, c. 1350–1400) was the fifth Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church (1390–1396), a writer and poet, known also for transferring the relics of Lazar of Serbia from the church of Sveti Spas (Holy Saviour) in Priština to Ravanica in 1391.

He was a high-official of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In 1382, Danilo was the abbot of Drenča Monastery, and from 1390, he replaced Jefrem as Serbian Patriarch. As a retrospective writer, he distinguished himself by including in his works concrete details, dramatic scenes and dialogues.

Danilo III is the author of The Office for St. Sava, The Office for St. Simeon, The Office for St. Milutin, and the "Narration about Prince Lazar." There are, however, a few literary historian skeptics who question Danilo's authorship of his "Narration" and ascribe it to some anonymous monk from Ravanica Monastery. The "Narration" was written shortly after the Battle of Kosovo, which took place in 1389; and it represents a report of an eyewitness, or at least a contemporary of Prince Lazar. It includes many details concerning the situation in Raška before the Battle of Kosovo. It was written in 1392 by Danilo III.

The epic story of how Lazar chose an eternal kingdom seems to have originated with Slovo o knezu Lazaru (Narration about Prince Lazar) by Serbian Patriarch Danilo III. Next, Jefimija's embroidered "Encomium to Prince Lazar, and several texts by anonymous monk-scribes, written within thirty years of the battle had solidified his martyrdom. These texts all interpret Prince Lazar's fate at Kosovo as a martyr's victory and triumph of the commitment to the "heavenly kingdom" over the "earthly kingdom." Folk songs on the same theme have enthralled large audiences over the centuries, particularly Mountain Wreath by Njegoš.

Lazar's speech, like other speeches delivered by princes to their armies before battles, represents evidence of oral literary language that was formed by the traditions of oratory. Danilo III brought to life the spoken word of the protagonists and gave vocal and emotional charge to a scene that has great heroic and epic potential. The dramatization of Lazar's speech and the responses of the choir of Serbian warriors can be compared to that of ancient Greek tragedies.

The Office of St. Milutin is written in the tradition of Orthodox hymnography and it clearly attests to Danilo's poetic talent.


Gazimestan (Serbian Cyrillic: Газиместан, Serbian pronunciation: [ɡaziměstaːn]) is the name of a memorial site and monument commemorating the Battle of Kosovo (1389), situated about 6-7 kilometres southeast of the actual battlefield, known as the Kosovo field. The name is a portmanteau derived from Arabic ghazi, meaning "hero" or "champion", and Serbian word mesto, meaning "place". Gazimestan is reached from the Pristina–Mitrovica highway, on a 50-metre hill above the plain, ca. 5 km north-west from Pristina. Every year, on Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day), 28 June, a commemoration is held by the monument, which in later years is also covered by an image of Prince Lazar, who led the Serbian army at the battle.

History of Kosovo

The history of Kosovo is intertwined with the histories of its neighboring regions. The name "Kosovo" is derived from the Kosovo Plain, where the Battle of Kosovo was fought between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire. Kosovo's modern history can be traced to the Ottoman Sanjak of Prizren, of which parts were organized into Kosovo Vilayet in 1877. In antiquity, Dardania covered the area, which formed part of the larger Roman province of Moesia in the 1st century AD. In the Middle Ages, the region became part of the Bulgarian Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Serbian medieval states. It was then conquered by the Ottoman Empire an exact 70 years after the Battle of Kosovo. In 1913 the Kosovo Vilayet was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbia, which in 1918 formed Yugoslavia. Kosovo gained autonomy in 1963 under Josip Broz Tito's direction, an autonomy which was significantly extended by Yugoslavia's 1974 Constitution, but lost its autonomous institutions in 1990. In 1999 UNMIK stepped in.

On 17 February 2008 Kosovo's Parliament declared independence, as the Republic of Kosovo, with partial recognition of that declaration.

Ivan Kosančić

Ivan Kosančić was a Serbian knight who died during the historical Battle of Kosovo in 1389.

Kosovo Offensive (1915)

For the other Battles of Kosovo, see Battle of Kosovo (disambiguation)

The Kosovo Offensive Operation (Bulgarian: Косовска настъпателна операция; Serbian: Косовска битка), the third major battle in history to have been fought there, was a battle occurred between 10 November 1915 and 4 December 1915. Serbian defeat in this battle led to the costly Serbian retreat through Albania.

Kosovo field (Kosovo)

The Kosovo field (Serbian: Косово поље / Kosovo polje, Albanian: fusha e Kosovës, German: Amselfeld, Hungarian: Rigómező) is a large karst field (polje), a plain located in the eastern part of Kosovo (Kosovo proper). It is mostly known for being the battlefield of the Battle of Kosovo (1389) between the Serbian and Ottoman armies, and many other battles.

Lazar of Serbia

Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Лазар Хребељановић; ca. 1329 – 15 June 1389) was a medieval Serbian ruler who created the largest and most powerful state on the territory of the disintegrated Serbian Empire. Lazar's state, referred to by historians as Moravian Serbia, comprised the basins of the Great Morava, West Morava, and South Morava rivers. Lazar ruled Moravian Serbia from 1373 until his death in 1389. He sought to resurrect the Serbian Empire and place himself at its helm, claiming to be the direct successor of the Nemanjić dynasty, which went extinct in 1371 after ruling over Serbia for two centuries. Lazar's programme had the full support of the Serbian Orthodox Church, but the Serbian nobility did not recognize him as their supreme ruler. He is often referred to as Tsar Lazar Hrebeljanović (Цар Лазар Хребељановић) however he only hald the title of Prince (Кнез).

Lazar was killed at the Battle of Kosovo in June 1389 while leading a pan-Christian army assembled to confront the invading Ottoman Empire, led by Sultan Murad I. The battle ended without a clear victor, though both sides endured heavy losses, which were more devastating for the less numerous Serbs and their Christian allies. Lazar's widow, Milica, who ruled as regent for their adolescent son Stefan Lazarević, Lazar's successor, accepted Ottoman suzerainty in the summer of 1390.

Lazar is venerated in the Orthodox Christian Church as a martyr and saint, and is highly regarded in Serbian history, culture and tradition. In Serbian epic poetry, he is referred to as Tsar Lazar (Цар Лазар).

Milan Toplica

In Serbian epic poetry, Milan Toplica (Toplica Milan, Milan from Toplica) was a Serbian knight who died during the historical Battle of Kosovo in 1389.According to folk songs, he was born in the Toplica region and was a sworn brother (in Serbian: pobratim) to Miloš Obilić and Ivan Kosančić, and had before the battle promised himself to a girl, the Kosovo Maiden. After the battle, she found Pavle Orlović and heard about the fate of Milan and his sworn brothers, according to a Serbian epic poem recorded and published in the early 19th century by Vuk Karadžić. Honours and titles attributed to him, differ from area to area with the folk songs recorded by Karadžić calling him a duke. In the cycle of Marko Kraljević he is known to hold the title of bajraktar, while Obilić is a vojvode and Kosančić a privenac.Medieval Berkovac, near Valjevo, is commonly called Zamak Toplice Milana.The Topličin Venac Crescent in Belgrade is named after Milan Toplica.

Miloš Obilić

Miloš Obilić (Serbian Cyrillic: Милош Обилић, pronounced [mîloʃ ôbilit͡ɕ]; died 15 June 1389) is said to have been a Serbian knight in the service of Prince Lazar, during the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. He is not mentioned in contemporary sources, but he features prominently in later accounts of the Battle of Kosovo as the assassin of the Ottoman sultan Murad I. Although the assassin remains anonymous in sources until the late 15th century, the dissemination of the story of Murad's assassination in Florentine, Serbian, Ottoman and Greek sources suggests that versions of it circulated widely across the Balkans within half a century after the event.

It is not certain whether Obilić actually existed, but Lazar's family – strengthening their political control – "gave birth to the myth of Kosovo", including the story of Obilić. He became a major figure in Serbian epic poetry, in which he is elevated to the level of the most noble national hero of medieval Serbian folklore. Along with the martyrdom of Prince Lazar and the alleged treachery of Vuk Branković, Miloš's deed became an integral part of Serbian traditions surrounding the Battle of Kosovo. In the 19th century, Miloš also came to be venerated as a saint in the Serbian Church.

Murad I

Murad I (Ottoman Turkish: مراد اول‎; Turkish: I. Murad, Murad-ı Hüdavendigâr (nicknamed Hüdavendigâr, from Persian: خداوندگار, Khodāvandgār, "the devotee of God" – but meaning "sovereign" in this context); 29 June 1326 – 15 June 1389) was the Ottoman Sultan from 1362 to 1389. He was a son of Orhan and the Valide Nilüfer Hatun.

Murad I conquered Adrianople, renamed it to Edirne, and in 1363 made it the new capital of the Ottoman Sultanate. Then he further expanded the Ottoman realm in Southeast Europe by bringing most of the Balkans under Ottoman rule, and forced the princes of northern Serbia and Bulgaria as well as the Byzantine emperor John V Palaiologos to pay him tribute. Murad I administratively divided his sultanate into the two provinces of Anatolia (Asia Minor) and Rumelia (the Balkans). Murad's death against the Serbs would cause the Ottomans to halt their expansion into the territory temporarily and focus their attention once more on the ailing Byzantine Empire.

National mysticism

National mysticism (German Nationalmystik) is a form of nationalism which raises the nation to the status of numen or divinity. Its best known instance is Germanic mysticism, which gave rise to occultism under the Third Reich. The idea of the nation as a divine entity was presented by Johann Gottlieb Fichte. National mysticism is closely related to Romantic nationalism, but goes beyond the expounding of romantic sentiment, to a mystical veneration of the nation as a transcendent truth. It often intersects with ethnic nationalism by pseudohistorical assertions about the origins of a given ethnicity.

National mysticism is encountered in many nationalisms other than Germanic or Nazi mysticism, and expresses itself in the use of occult, pseudoscientific, or pseudohistorical beliefs to back up nationalistic claims, often involving unrealistic notions of the antiquity of a nation (antiquity frenzy) or any national myth defended as "true" by pseudo-scholarly means. Notable instances of national mysticism include:

The Sun Language Theory in Pan-Turkism

Kurdish nationalists often make the claim that they are the descendants of the Medes

Polish Sarmatism

Greek Epsilonism and Proto-Greeks theory (see also and List of Ancient Greek tribes)

Some branches of revisionist history theories of Bulgarians and Bulgaria (i.e. 'Thracomania') and Macedonian nationalist history theories

Narratives on the origin of the Albanians in Albanian nationalism

The Croat Illyrian movement

Romanian Protochronism

Philippine Destiny

The Battle of Kosovo as the national myth in Serbian nationalism

American Manifest Destiny

The Indigenous Aryans theory in Hindu nationalism

Currents of Tamil nationalism (as in Devaneya Pavanar)

Claims of interplanetary travel, possible existence of in-vitro fertilization and genetic engineering by Ancient Indians (102nd Indian Science Congress)

Some currents of Armenian nationalism (see Armenia, Subartu and Sumer)

Currents of Russian nationalism

Kabbalistic currents in religious Zionism

Swedish Gothicism

Hungarian Holy Crown Doctrine

Serbian folklore

Serbian folklore is the folk traditions among ethnic Serbs. The earliest examples of Serbian folklore are seen in the pre-Christian Slavic customs transformed into Christianity.

Spiridon (patriarch)

Spiridon (Serbian Cyrillic: Спиридон; fl. 1379–d. 11 August 1389) was the Patriarch of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć from 1380 to 1389. He held office during the reign of Prince Lazar, who was recognized by the Serbian Church as the legitimate ruler of the Serbian lands (in the period of the Fall of the Serbian Empire), and with whom he closely cooperated.

Spiridon was chosen to succeed Patriarch Jefrem, who abdicated, in 1379, and was enthroned after 3 May 1380. Historian M. Petrović believes that Jefrem abdicated due to opposing the politics of suppressing the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which was pursued by Prince Lazar and Spiridon. The Serbian Church recognized Lazar as the legitimate ruler of the Serbian lands, the autokrator (inherited by the Nemanjić dynasty), since 1375. Spiridon's life prior to enthronement is unclear. He is believed to have been born in Niš, as written in the old list of Serbian patriarchs (Патріархъ Спиридонъ родомъ отъ Нишъ), accepted in early Serbian literature, however, there is no confirmation. M. Purković assumed that Spiridon was a bishop of perhaps Caesaropolis, then the metropolitan of Melnik. Two acts from Vatopedi dating to October 1377 mention a "metropolitan Spiridon". Spiridon might have been the same as the Dečani ascetic Spiridon; Jefrem chose Spiridon as his successor, his close friend, fellow clergyman, and venturer, a hesychast as himself, and also a man of the court – respectable, educated, and informed on the secrets and state skills and church politics, more than Jefrem himself. Historian M. Spremić believed that Jefrem had in the first place been enthroned as a compromise between the Serbian Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and that he was forced to abdicate by followers of Prince Lazar.Spiridon was a close associate of Lazar, and their work coincided – the renewal of the Nemanjić ideal of symphony of the state and church. The patriarch was the most important person along with the ruler, whom he versatilely supported. Spiridon confirmed Lazar's 1378 charter to Gornjak (Ždrelo), Lazar's endowment, and Lazar's 1387 charter to Obrad Dragosalić. On 2 March 1382, in Žiča, the founding charter of the Drenče monastery was written before Spiridon. Spiridon died on 11 August 1389 (as recorded in Danilo's typikon from 1416), not long after the Battle of Kosovo in which Lazar fell. After Lazar's death, Spiridon stayed in alliance with Lazar's widow Milica. After the battle and Spiridon's death, the security of the Serbian state and church was threatened by the Ottomans; Milica's political circle worked to establish peace with the Ottomans, a deal which was eventually struck with large Serbian concessions, by the summer of 1390. Spiridon was succeeded by Jefrem, who returned and served shortly until he was replaced by Danilo III.In the Serbian epic film Battle of Kosovo (1989), Spiridon was played by actor Miodrag Radovanović.


Vidovdan (Serbian Cyrillic: Видовдан, "St. Vitus Day") is a Serbian national and religious holiday, a slava (feast day) celebrated on 28 June (Gregorian calendar), or 15 June according to the Julian calendar, in use by the Serbian Orthodox Church to venerate St. Vitus. The Serbian Church designates it as the memorial day to Saint Prince Lazar and the Serbian holy martyrs who fell during the epic Battle of Kosovo against the Ottoman Empire on 15 June 1389 (according to the Julian calendar). It is an important part of Serb ethnic and Serbian national identity.

Vuk Branković

Vuk Branković (Serbian Cyrillic: Вук Бранковић, pronounced [ʋûːk brǎːnkoʋit͡ɕ], 1345 – 6 October 1397) was a Serbian medieval nobleman who, during the Fall of the Serbian Empire, inherited a province that extended over present-day southern and southwestern Serbia, the northern part of present day Macedonia, and northern Montenegro. His fief (and later state) was known as Oblast Brankovića (District of Branković) or simply as Vukova zemlja (Vuk's land), which he held with the title of gospodin (lord, sir), under Prince Lazar of Serbia. After the Battle of Kosovo (1389), Vuk was briefly the de facto most powerful Serbian lord.

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